Sermon No: 162523-Covenants - Part 11b- The New Covenant



SERMON TOPIC: Covenants - Part 11b- The New Covenant

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 5 June 2022

Topic Groups: COVENANTS, NEW COVENANT, HEBREWS

Sermon synopsis: Not only was it a New Covenant; it was a better covenant.
Heb 7:22 (NIV) … Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
Heb 8:6 (NIV) … the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one …

PART 10B: THE NEW COVENANT

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT

The New Covenant is in the form of a last will of Testament.

A testament requires the death of the testator in order to be put into effect.

Heb 9:16-17 (NIV) In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.

A NEW COVENANT

With his death, Jesus bequeathed to us a New Covenant (Testament):

1 Cor 11:25 (KJV) After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood …

SUPERSEDED

The conditions of a will or testament can only be legally changed by the existence of a more recent testament, which supersedes the previous one. When a newer will or testament is made, the older one is automatically made obsolete.

Heb 8:13 (NIV) By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

Due to persecution, the Jewish Christians who were the recipients of the letter of Hebrews were being tempted to renounce the New Covenant and return to the Old Covenant of the Law. The author shows that they will be going back to something that would disappear due to obsolescence.

Not only was it a New Covenant; it was a better covenant.

Heb 7:22 (NIV) … Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

Heb 8:6 (NIV) … the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one …

The very fact that God established a New Covenant, indicates to us that there is something lacking or “wrong” with the Old Covenant.

Heb 8:7 (NIV) For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.

WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THE OLD COVENANT?

It could not impart life.

2 Cor 3:6 (NIV) He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

A BETTER COVENANT

OLD COVENANT LACKING

It couldn’t save us – it could only expose our sinfulness.

Rom 3:20 (NIV) Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

The lack was not on God’s part.

Heb 8:8 (NIV) But God found fault with the people and said: “The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant …”

OLD COVENANT LACKING

It was not the Law that was defective but the people. The Old Covenant (Law) was inadequate in that mankind is sinful and unable to keep the conditions of the covenant.

Rom 7:10-11 (NIV) I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.

WHAT THEN WAS THE PURPOSE OF GOD GIVING SUCH A COVENANT?

NEW TESTAMENT

It was to make us aware that we are sinners.

Rom 7:7 (NIV) What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

The Old Covenant of the Law is important because it teaches us the perfection of God’s holiness, reveals the measure of our sinfulness and points to the only one who could fulfil it - Jesus!

THE OLD & NEW COVENANTS

Although we cannot keep the Law, it points us to Christ by making us realize that we need a Saviour.

Gal 3:24 (NASB) Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

Gal 3:24 (KJV) Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ …

A BETTER COVENANT

The law demands perfection — which is impossible because we’re all sinful.

Rom 3:10 … there is no one righteous, not even one

Because of this, all who try to live by the law are under a curse – because the Law brings a curse to those who cannot keep it:

Gal 3:10-12 (NIV) All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.”

CURSED IN OUR PLACE

But the good news is that on the cross Jesus “redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal 3:13).

The curse of the law fell on Christ so that the righteousness of God could fall on us, even though we did not deserve it.

2 Cor 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The Law is like going to a doctor who diagnoses you as having a terminal illness (i.e. resulting in death), but cannot give you anything to cure you.

YOU’RE GOING TO DIE!

Likewise the Law tells us that we are sinners, but then can do nothing to save us because of our sinful nature.

WHICH DOCTOR WOULD YOU PREFER?

Jesus is like a doctor who diagnoses you as having a terminal illness (“the wages of sin is death”), but then offers a cure (“the gift of God is eternal life in a Christ Jesus our Lord”).

YOU WOULD HAVE DIED, BUT I HAVE A CURE.

DOCTOR JESUS

WHICH DOCTOR WOULD YOU PREFER?

The Old Covenant could not clear the conscience.

Heb 9:9 (NIV) This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.

The Old Covenant was problematic in that it required legal perfection and man is naturally sinful.

Heb 8:9b (NIV) “… they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them”

A BETTER COVENANT

The New Covenant compensated for the weakness of our sinful nature, by providing a perfect sin offering for us.

Rom 8:3-4 (NIV) For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

If we could have been saved by the Old Covenant, then there was no need for Jesus to die on the cross:

Gal 2:21 (NIV) I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!

The Old Covenant was a temporary measure until the “new order”. It focussed on external rules and regulations:

Heb 9:10 (NIV) They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings - external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

In contrast the New Covenant is based on an internal change:

Heb 8:10 (NIV) “… I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.”

A BETTER COVENANT

There is a greater intimacy with God in the New Covenant. God is no longer distant, but our Father in heaven - and we are co-heirs with Jesus.

Heb 8:10-11 (NIV) “I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.”

A BETTER COVENANT

COVENANT MEDIATORS

A covenant might require mediation by a third party.

A mediator is someone who acts as a negotiator between 2 or more parties either to settle a dispute, or to bring about an agreement.

Gal 3:20 (NIV) A mediator, however, does not represent just one party …

The 2 central mediators in the Bible are:

Mediator of the Old Covenant (Testament): Moses

Gal 3:19 (NIV) …The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator.

Mediator of the New Covenant (Testament): Jesus

Heb 9:15a (NIV) For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant …

COVENANT MEDIATORS

ISRAEL

The mediators of God’s covenants acted as an arbitrator between God and man.

As Moses was the mediator of the Old Covenant of Law, so Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant of Grace.

John 1:17 (NIV) For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

JESUS OUR MEDIATOR

A GREATER MEDIATOR

The New Covenant mediator (Christ) is greater than the Old Covenant mediator (Moses).

Heb 3:2-3 (NIV) He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honour than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honour than the house itself.

Heb 3:5 (NIV) “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” … But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house …

Moses delivered his people from physical slavery; Jesus delivers from spiritual slavery.

Gal 5:1 (ESV) For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Moses didn’t lead the people into the Promised Land; Christ leads his people into glory.

Eph 4:8 (ESV) Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.”

Moses liberated the Jews; Christ liberates both Jew and Gentile.

Eph 2:11-13 (NIV) Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Moses gave bread from heaven to sustain physical life; Christ is the bread from haven to sustain spiritual life.

John 6:32-50 (NIV) Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven … I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die.

Moses brought the patterns of things to come, Christ brought the realities (Col 2:17).

Moses was only a man, Jesus was both man and God – making him uniquely qualified to mediate between God and man.

A GREATER MEDIATOR

Moses’ mediatory role involved communicating the terms of the covenant to Israel. The people lost their mediator when Moses died so the priesthood was instituted.

The mediatory role of Moses and the Levitical priests is now over.

1 Tim 2:5 (NIV) For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 5-7 shows that Jesus is greater than Aaron and the Levitical priests, having a better priesthood in the order of Melchizedek.

A GREATER HIGH PRIEST

A GREATER HIGH PRIEST

Jesus is greater than Aaron because:

He serves in a better tabernacle

He has a better order of priesthood (the order of Melchizedek)

He offered a better sacrifice

His intercession is superior because:

he is sinless

of his indestructible life

1) He serves in a better tabernacle

THE OLD SANCTUARY

Moses was instructed to build a tabernacle where the priests would offer sacrifices to God on behalf of the people. He had strict instructions to build it exactly according to a pattern God had given him, which was based on the temple in heaven.

Acts 7:44 (NIV) “Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony with them in the desert. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen.”

Solomon’s temple was based on the pattern of the tabernacle with an outer court, Holy Place and Holy of Holies. It was again patterned on the temple in heaven, the plan being revealed to David by God:

1 Chron 28:11,19 (NIV) Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the portico of the temple … its inner rooms and the place of atonement … “All this,” David said, “I have in writing from the hand of the LORD upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan.”

A BETTER TEMPLE

The Jews of Jesus’ day took great pride in their temple which was a spectacular achievement by Herod the Great, who was renowned for his architectural accomplishments.

Mark 13:1 (NIV) As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”

But however impressive the temple in Jerusalem temple was, it was nothing compared to the temple in heaven that Jesus served in. Like the tabernacle, it was just “a copy and shadow of what is in heaven”.

Heb 8:2,5 (NIV) and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man … They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

So the patterns for the tabernacle and temple were based on the true temple of God in heaven.

A BETTER TEMPLE

Stephen relates how the earthly temple was not God’s actual dwelling place – rather it was in heaven:

Acts 7:47-50 (NIV) “But it was Solomon who built the house for him. However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things?’”

A BETTER TEMPLE

Isaiah saw the heavenly temple in a vision (Isa 6:1) as did Ezekiel (Ezek 10:3-5)

It was this heavenly temple that Jesus entered in his capacity as our great High Priest in the order of Melchizedek:

Heb 9:11 (NIV) When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.

Heb 9:24 (NIV) For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.

A BETTER TEMPLE

While there were many High Priests descended from Aaron who could serve in the copy on earth, Jesus alone is qualified to serve in the superior sanctuary in heaven.

He has a better order of priesthood

Heb 7:11 (NIV) If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come - one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron?

2) A BETTER ORDER OF PRIESTHOOD

ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK

The priestly order of Melchizedek is better than the Levitical priesthood because:

It is not based on ancestry.

It is both a priestly and kingly office.

Abraham, the forefather of Levi, was blessed by Melchizedek (and “without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater” – Heb 7:7).

It is an eternal priesthood based on an oath from God.

3) HE OFFERED A BETTER SACRIFICE

As High Priest in the heavenly temple, Jesus needed a sacrifice:

Heb 8:3 (NIV) Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer.

The heavenly temple necessitated a better sacrifice than the earthly sanctuary:

Heb 9:23 (NIV) It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

A BETTER SACRIFICE

The better sacrifice was Jesus himself

Heb 9:26b (NIV) But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

So Jesus was both the High Priest and the sacrifice.

1 Cor 5:7b (NIV) For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

And it was a far better sacrifice:

1 Pet 1:18-19 (NIV) For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

A BETTER SACRIFICE

The sacrifices in the Old Covenant were just annual reminders of sin, because they couldn’t bring about forgiveness of sin:

Heb 10:3-4 (NIV) But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

A BETTER SACRIFICE

In the New Covenant Jesus recognised that the old sacrifices were inadequate for our redemption – and then he offers himself as the perfect sacrifice:

Heb 10:5-9 (NIV) Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am - it is written about me in the scroll - I have come to do your will, O God.’” First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second.

A BETTER SACRIFICE

While the sacrifices of the Old Covenant provided just a covering for sin, the New Covenant brought about forgiveness of sin.

Heb 8:12 (NIV) “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

A BETTER SACRIFICE

John the Baptist called Jesus “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 , NIV). And the 24 elders sing a song to Jesus in heaven saying, “you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Rev 5:9, NIV)

The better blood of Jesus gives us eternal redemption:

Heb 9:12-14 (NIV) He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

A BETTER SACRIFICE

In our New Covenant Jesus not only freed us from sin; he paid the price for “sins committed under the first covenant.”

Heb 9:15 (NIV) For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance - now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

So even those in the Old Covenant are redeemed by Christ.

Why did Jesus warn Mary Magdalene “Do not touch me,” immediately after his resurrection? (John 20:17)

Yet later he specifically tells Thomas to touch him saying, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side …” (John 20:27, NIV)

DON’T TOUCH ME

We know that Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection.

Mark 16:9 (NIV) When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene…

The Old Covenant High Priest had to make himself ceremonially clean before entering the Holy of Holies (aka Most Holy Place). If he even came into contact with something that was ceremonially unclean he himself would not be clean any more.

Likewise Jesus could not be touched straight after his resurrection because he had not yet presented the sacrifice to the Father in the heavenly temple.

That is why he told Mary, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father”.

In between appearing to Mary and appearing later to the other women and disciples, Jesus presented himself as the sacrifice in the heavenly temple.

HERE I AM - IT IS WRITTEN ABOUT ME IN THE SCROLL - I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.

DON’T TOUCH ME

After offering himself as the perfect sacrifice to his Father in the heavenly Holy of Holies, Jesus was able to be touched again and didn’t impose any restriction in his future appearances to his disciples:

Matt 28:8-9 (NIV) So the women hurried away from the tomb … Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

A COMPLETED

WORK

Heb 9:2-4 (NIV) A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant…

Notice that despite all the furnishings in the OT temple, there were no chairs. The priest’s work was never finished – he could never sit down. But we read of Jesus:

Heb 8:1 (NIV) The point of what we are saying is this: we do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the majesty in heaven

HE SAT DOWN

The Old Covenant priests had to make a sacrifice in the Holy of Holies once a year for his own sins and the sins of the people.

Heb 9:6-7 (NIV) When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.

Jesus was perfect and didn’t need a sacrifice for his own sins. He completed the work of our salvation from sin with his perfect sacrifice. On the cross Jesus knew “that all was now completed” (John 19:28) and referring to the plan of salvation cries “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

By saying “It is finished” (John 19:30) before he died, Jesus indicated that the atonement was completed on the cross.

“It is finished” is a single Greek word tetelestai which means “paid in full.” John Walvoord writes, “Papyri receipts for taxes have been recovered with the word tetelestai written across them, meaning ‘paid in full’… When he said, ‘It is finished’ (not ‘I am finished’), He meant his redemptive work was completed. He had been made sin for people (2 Cor. 5:21) and had suffered the penalty of God’s justice which sin deserved.” [The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures 2:340]

So the word “tetelestai” was used regarding paying a legal debt. Jesus effectively cries out: PAID IN FULL

This is confirmed by Paul who writes that on the cross Jesus cancelled the debt and the record completely. I have no legal demands on me.

Col 2:14 (ESV) by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

PAID IN FULL!

Because it was a perfect sacrifice, Jesus only needed to offer the sacrifice once:

Heb 9:25-28 (NIV) Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Because the work of salvation was “finished” and “complete” at Calvary, Jesus could sit down after the sacrifice – unlike the Old Testament priests.

Heb 10:10-14 (NIV) And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

SINLESS

All the high priests in the Old Covenant were also sinners and had to make sacrifices for their own sins as well:

Heb 5:1-3 (NIV) Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.

Unlike the Old Covenant high priests, Jesus was perfect and “holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners”:

Heb 7:26-27 (NIV) Such a high priest meets our need - one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

Heb 5:8-9 (NIV) Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him

3) BETTER INTERCESSION

His intercession is superior because:

he is a tested - but sinless - intercessor:

Heb 4:15-16 (NIV) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

His intercession is superior because of his indestructible life:

The Levitical priests:

Heb 7:23 (NIV) Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office

The order of Melchizedek:

Heb 7:24-25 (NIV) but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.




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